ST. CLOUD -- It's been a bumper crop year for acorns and the Farmer's Almanac has a saying...squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry will cause snow to gather in a hurry. But, does that mean it will be a cold and snowy winter?

Horticulturist Beth Berlin says it's not that simple. She says just like the silver maples and elm trees in the spring, the oak trees may be responding more to previous conditions than what lies ahead...

A couple of things could trigger it and sometimes that is the environmental conditions that were present and it could have been stress.  With the maples and the elms doing what they did in the spring, it sure seems like that is the exact same connection.  It just takes the oak trees a lot longer to form their fruit.

Pete Boulay is the Assistant Climatologist for Minnesota. He views the folklore more as entertainment rather than a prediction of the upcoming winter...

It makes you think about winter.  If the animals are gathering acorns it's time to think about winter.  So, it ties into that whole thing, you know, about wooly caterpillars and predicting the weather and there's lots of weather folklore and most of it doesn't pan out.

Boulay says we are forecasted to have an El Nino this winter which usually brings warmer temperatures to Minnesota. However, he says we could still get plenty of snow. Boulay says typically in El Nino years it is more difficult to keep the snowpack due to those warmer temperatures.

Berlin says the abundance of acorns is more likely about the species preserving itself for future generations than predicting the upcoming winter.  So, one thing is certain, and the Farmer's Almanac may have put it best, "From little acorns come mighty oaks".

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